Triplett shows class, poise in achieving in classroom and ballet

[subtitle] YOUTH OF THE YEAR  [/subtitle]



Alani Triplett’s talent has earned her internships at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey Ballet School, two prestigious dance schools in New York.


By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

It wasn’t difficult to understand why one of Alani Triplett’s teachers used the word “class” to describe the Lincoln High School senior.

When Triplett was asked for a reaction to being named the Capital Outlook’s Youth of the Year, she responded as if she wanted to defer the honor to one of her peers.

“My mom told me and I was expecting her to say someone else,” she said. “There are a lot of successful people and I was expecting it to be one of them. I’m recognized for things but there are so many great people around my age.

“It was really like an actual shock.”

But it shouldn’t be. Triplett, 17, has the credentials to show.

She has been an honor roll student since she started attending school and on top of that she is taking Advance Placement classes at Lincoln. Add to that her ability as a ballet dancer, who spent two summers participating in internships at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.

Her biggest take-away from the exposure was getting a better understanding of her body as it relates to dancing, Triplett said.

“It was very overwhelming,” she said. “The teachers are very hardcore but I realized that it was nice being with other people.”

As much as Triplett would like to downplay winning the Capital Outlook honor, she is well deserved, said Serena Henault, who teaches Triplett French at Lincoln.

“She works very hard even when she is faced with a challenge,” Henault said. “She is one of those students; she has to work. Alani sets her goals really high and she acknowledges that it takes a lot of effort. She always puts her best foot forward.”

That was exactly the case when Triplett returned from her first trip to a state language competition without a ribbon. She recognized that her shortcoming was in her accent and pronunciation.

Triplett hunkered down and each of the next two years she attended the state competition, she walked away with a ribbon. One was the top prize of a blue ribbon in her sophomore year.

“She knew what she needed to do to get to that level,” Henault said. “It was amazing. I was just truly impressed with how far she had come.”

While Triplett puts most of her days into both academics and ballet, she said dancing is her reprieve. She put in about 15 hours in five days of training.

“It’s really important to dance often,” she said. “Whenever I miss classes, I feel it in my body. Technique is very important so it can definitely go down if you don’t always go to class.”

She has been honing her talent for 11 years, but Triplett said professional dancing isn’t in her future. Her professional goal is to become a physical therapist that treats dancers.

She would achieve at any career choice that she makes, said Henault.

“It’s not just her ability,” Henault said. “She has this wonderful, warm personality and a lot of class. That says a lot of a young person, especially today. Class. That’s what I think of when I think of Alani. I know she will go far.”